FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution can put their goal song, “The Boys are Back” by the Dropkick Murphys, to good use in welcoming home the most tenured player in club history, Shalrie Joseph.
On Tuesday, the team announced the signing of the 35-year-old midfielder, and all the talk around Gillette Stadium has been about the veteran’s presence and what it means for this young, talented squad.
“I was looking at it more for what he can bring our guys,” said coach Jay Heaps, Joseph's longtime colleague in New England colors, prior to Thursday’s training session. “Mentoring some of the younger players, but also what he can do in training with us every day in giving guys the right attitude on the field – a winner’s attitude.”
Diego Fagundez also played with Joseph at the tail end of the hard-nosed midfielder's first stint in New England, and the Revs' first-ever Homegrown player is eager to welcome his former teammate back into the fold.
“It’s nice to have him back,” Fagundez told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “He’s a veteran that can bring a lot to the young guys, and we’re going to learn a lot from him.”
As for Joseph, who had been training with the club for the past month after his contract was bought out by Seattle in March, he is excited to put on a kit he has donned 261 times in the past. He is also hopeful that, when the time comes, he can finish his storied career where it started.
“I’m glad to be back,” said Joseph to MLSsoccer.com. “It’s taken me this far, and hopefully it can take me a little bit further. I know a lot of the guys, I’ve played with them, I’ve been a part of their lives.”
Currently working his way back from a groin injury, Joseph admits that his conditioning is coming along slowly, and Heaps is willing to allow time to ensure he makes his return in full health. Once he is back, Joseph says he is ready to put 11 years of MLS experience on the line in hopes of getting the Revolution back to championship caliber.
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“I’m just trying to lend my leadership, give them what I’ve learned,” said Joseph. “Try to teach them how to be professional. Hopefully with all of that, we can do something great with this team. If we continue to grow and continue to practice hard as a team, I definitely can see us winning a championship.”